As citizens of a modern urban society, our contact with nature has become an unusual experience, reserved to some rare moments of leisure on weekends. Despite this, our society recognises the necessity of nature conservation and the urgency of understanding biodiversity in an increasingly urbanised world. In the same way that we acknowledge the need of preserving our cultural and artistic heritage, we also understand that our own survival depends on being able to preserve our natural heritage.
At the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales de Madrid, we would like to play an important role in the dissemination of biodiversity knowledge, in an effort to help preserve our natural heritage. These days, new technologies allow museums to jump into the virtual world, offering the public audio and video materials that can be reached from their homes.
Animal voices and landscape sounds are an ideal material for this kind of dissemination, because of the ease with which they can be shared and stored online. One of the most recognisable aspects of animals is the sounds they make. Indeed animal voices are amongst the very first thing that children learn about animals, and when walking in a forest we can usually hear many more animals that those that we see.
In this freely accessible web-based database, we offer a sample of animal and landscape recordings from the Iberian Peninsula from our Sound Library Collection. Our objective is to present a showcase of sounds, showing differences between species but also the different sounds made by the same species. In addition to their aesthetic value, landscape recordings or “soundscapes” provide information about the composition of an animal community at a specific point in time and at a specific location. Many of these recordings have been gathered during scientific projects on the evolution of animal signals, and we think that it is important that this material is fully accessible as a complement to our research.listening to sounds see landscapes